The Easiest Ways to Relieve Hot Flashes (and How Your Lifestyle’s Making Them Worse)

Once you hit your 40s, you know that menopause is well on its way — and that means you should be mentally preparing for a few uncomfortable symptoms. You’re well aware that you should expect to experience hot flashes. But the good news is that you don’t have to deal with them totally unassisted. In fact, there are plenty of easy ways to relieve the heat waves and live your life as normal.

Why do hot flashes occur?

In case you’re unfamiliar with the feeling, Mayo Clinic explains when you’re experiencing a hot flash, you’ll feel a sudden rush of warmth that’s typically most intense over the face and chest. You also might look as if you’re blushing and can cause you to sweat. After the flash has passed, it’s common to feel chilled.

Depending on the person, you may have hot flashes several times a week or even a few times an hour. They’re commonly caused by changes in hormone levels, which is why they’re frequently felt during menopause.

Easy ways to relieve them

Mature Woman Experiencing Hot Flush From Menopause

Woman experiencing a hot flash from menopause | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

Finding relief for hot flashes that seemingly come out of nowhere might seem difficult at the moment. But keep these tips in mind to help you get through your next episode:

Step into a cooler environment:

It seems simple enough, but if fanning yourself off with household products just isn’t cutting it, be prepared to lower the temperature of your home. Healthline explains hot environments can trigger hot flashes, so be prepared to enter a cooler environment whenever possible. It can also be helpful to wear layers for this reason, even in extremely cold weather.

Practice stress-relieving tactics:

Feeling stressed? Your daily worries may be inducing hot flashes. Take some time out of your day for just 10 minutes of meditation to clear your head. Also, help relieve your anxieties by making a schedule you can keep to and staying organized with a planner. Knowing what’s ahead will surely help keep stress at bay.

Put on looser clothing:

You may love leggings, but tight, constricting clothing may only make matters worse in the middle of a hot flash. Loose, cotton clothing and other natural fibers will help keep you cool. Also, make sure your bedding is cotton, too, as this can help when you’re sleeping.

Sip ice water:

In a pinch and need to cool down fast? Sipping ice water is one of the best and easiest ways to find relief. Start drinking ice water as soon as you feel a hot flash coming on.

Keep a cold pack by your bed:

Some women may experience hot flashes at night or early in the morning. If this sounds like you, Healthline recommends keeping an ice pack by your bedside table so you’re prepared. Ice packs will cool you down immediately and get you through even the worst hot flashes with ease.

Lifestyle changes you should make

A woman smoking a cigarette

A woman smoking a cigarette | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Stop smoking:

Mayo Clinic notes cigarette smoke is linked to hot flashes, so if you’re a smoker, it’s wise to stop before you hit menopause. Not only will you feel less attacked by sudden onsets of heat, but you’ll be doing your lungs and body a favor by quitting the habit. You should also stay away from secondhand smoke when you can.

Eat cooling foods:

Spicy foods can trigger hot flashes, which may be bad news for those who love spice. If you’re dealing with some seriously intense hot flashes, however, it’s well-advised for you to eat foods that bring down your core temperature. Melons and cucumbers have plenty of water and can feel refreshing if you’re going through a heatwave.

Additionally, Healthspan notes soy, flaxseeds, fish, and whole grains can also help you fend off the flashes by balancing out your changing hormones.

Maintain a healthy weight:

The University of California San Francisco noted studies have found overweight and obese women may experience hot flashes that are more severe. If this sounds like you, then dropping body fat may be worth it for your comfort. Always ask your doctor before going on any diet or exercise plan to get their opinion, though.

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